Central/South America


Pope Francis arrives in South America with message of hope for neediest

Photo Source: theguardian.com

History’s first Latin American pope travelled to Spanish-speaking South America for the first time as pontiff on Sunday, bringing a message of solidarity with the region’s poor, who were expected to turn out in droves to welcome him.
Francis, known to some as “the pope of the poor”, chose to visit Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay specifically because they are among the poorest and most marginal nations of a region that is home to 40% of the world’s Catholics. He is not scheduled to visit his homeland of Argentina, at least partly to avoid any entanglement in this year’s presidential election.


U.S., Cuba To Announce Embassy Openings Wednesday: Report

President Barack Obama will announce Wednesday that the U.S. and Cuba have finalized an agreement to reopen embassies in each other's capitals, a major step in ending hostilities between the Cold War foes, a senior administration official said.
The U.S. and Cuba have been negotiating the reestablishment of embassies following the historic December announcement that they would move to restore ties after a half-century of animosity. The U.S. embassy in Havana is expected to open in July.
For Obama, ending the U.S. freeze with Cuba is central to his foreign policy legacy as he nears the end of his presidency. Obama has long touted the value of direct engagement with global foes and has argued that the U.S. embargo on the communist island just 90 miles south of Florida was ineffective.
The official insisted on anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter ahead of the president.


Puerto Rico governor says US territory 'can't pay $72bn debt'

Photo Source: bbc.co.uk

Puerto Rico's governor has said the US territory cannot pay its $72bn (£45bn) debt and is close to defaulting ahead of emergency talks with legislators.
In a TV address on Monday, Alejandro Garcia Padilla said he would seek a moratorium on repayments and form a team to restructure public debts.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest says the US government has ruled out a federal bailout for the US island.
The self-governing US commonwealth has been in a recession since 2006.
Legislators have to approve a $9.8bn budget on Tuesday, which calls for $674m in cuts and sets aside $1.5bn to help pay off the debt.


Argentina accuses David Cameron of 'ill manners' in row over Falkland Islands

Photo Source: independent.uk.com

The President of Argentina has accused the British Prime Minister of being "almost ill-mannered" during a heated exchange over the Falkland Islands.


Chile 'magic cheese scam' woman goes on trial in France

photo source: bbc.co.uk

A woman has gone on trial in France for allegedly operating a scam in which thousands of Chileans paid millions of euros to produce a supposedly "magic cheese" for the cosmetics industry.
Gilberte van Erpe, 74, is accused of selling a near-worthless powder as a costly domestic cheese-making kit.
Buyers were lured with the promise of huge returns when their "cheese" was sold on for use in beauty products.
The €14.5m (£10.6m; $16.14m) scam is one of the largest in Chilean history.
Ms van Erpe, nicknamed Madame Gil by the French press, was arrested in 2008. She is being tried at a court in Paris, as she could not be extradited to Chile. Three of her alleged accomplices are also on trial.
According to French media reports, the scam attracted some 5,500 people in Chile, each investing amounts between €400 and €168,000.
They were charged more than €350 for kits that would help produce the "cheese" if added to milk.


Was this indigenous leader killed because he fought to save Ecuador's land?

Photo Source: theguardian.com

Dark clouds loom over the Tundayme bus station where José Isidro Tendetza Antún said goodbye to his family for the last time.
The moody skies above the Cordillera del Condor would have been a familiar sight to the indigenous leader as he set out on 28 November to join a protest meeting against a huge Chinese-backed mine being carved out of his ancestral homeland.
He never arrived. Four days later, his son Jorge found Tendetza’s body in an unmarked grave, showing signs of torture and strangulation.
Six months on, that murder continues to reverberate among the residents of this jungle mountain range straddling Ecuador’s Amazon frontier with northern Peru.


Fifa crisis: Jack Warner 'to reveal all despite fears'

Photo Source: bbc.co.uk

Former Fifa vice-president Jack Warner has said in a TV address that he will reveal all he knows about corruption at the world football body.
Mr Warner, who said he feared for his life, also said he could link Fifa officials to general elections in his native Trinidad and Tobago in 2010.
He is one of the 14 people charged by the US over alleged corruption at Fifa.
Another top Fifa official and key witness, American Chuck Blazer, has admitted accepting bribes.
The admissions came in a newly released transcript of Mr Blazer's guilty plea from 2013, as part of a wide-ranging US criminal case that has engulfed Fifa and led president Sepp Blatter to resign.
The US justice department alleges the 14 people charged worldwide accepted bribes and kickbacks estimated at more than $150m (£97m) over a 24-year period. Four others have already been charged, including Mr Blazer.


Competition fever hits Brazil's food-obsessed bars

Photo Source: bbc.co.uk

here is a saying in Brazil for how most people like their beer to be served - estupidamente gelada (stupidly cold).
And if you have ever experienced a scorchingly hot Brazilian day, you'll know that this is actually a wise thing. You really do want your lager to be super-chilled in such climatic conditions.
While you can easily buy a cold beer from a supermarket or beach vendor, for many Brazilians their preferred port of call is still a boteco, the humble bar or pub.
Most botecos are small, family-run businesses, which, for reasons lost in the mists of time, don't actually serve draft beer. Instead the beer - always lager - typically comes in large 600ml bottles.
The idea is that friends share a bottle - or many - between them, which they drink while eating plates of petiscos (snacks).
The petiscos are typically something deep fried, such as breaded cod balls, or a pastel, which is a type of small pasty that also gets the hot oil treatment.


Mexico and Texas hit by deadly storms

photo source: bbc.co.uk

At least 13 people have been killed by a tornado that hit the northern Mexico border city of Ciudad Acuna.
Hundreds of homes have been damaged or destroyed in the city, in Coahuila state, just across the border from Del Rio, Texas.
Many other people have been injured and there are fears the death toll could rise in the coming hours.
There has also been severe flooding across the southern US, with at least eight dead and 12 missing.
Images from Mexico showed cars and buildings badly damaged.
Coahuila Governor Ruben Moreira, on a visit to the stricken area, said 10 adults and three children had died and a baby was missing. Another 150 people had been taken to hospital, he said.
The authorities say that more than 1,000 homes have been damaged by the storm.
At one point the tornado reached a speed of 270-300km/h (168-186mph). Most of those who died were walking on the street when it struck, officials said.


Brazil's See-Through Cave Has Water As Clear As The Caribbean

Photo Source: huffingtonpost.com

f you're looking for water as clear as the Caribbean, you might want to book it to Brazil this summer. Hidden in a cave in Chapada Diamantina National Park, one of Brazil's most beautiful bodies of water becomes see-through in the sun.


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